Monday, November 26, 2007

Klingon and kevlar

First off, let's congratulate Chuck (and Life) on getting picked up for the full season. Along with the fanciful Pushing Daisies, these are the cream of this season's crop of new series, and it's nice to see great television get rewarded even without stellar ratings. Knowing that Chuck has a life beyond the next few episodes felt important for this episode, so I'm sure NBC chief Ben Silverman had that in mind in making the announcement prior to airing.

Bringing back Bryce so soon was a dangerous proposition, but it was handled pretty well, especially having his first conversation with Chuck be coded in Klingon. Remember that his last, via email, was in coded in the language of the game Zork. My Star Trek geek is fairly limited, and I can't recognize Klingon, but a quick search shows that they at least tossed a few correct words and phrases in there to appear accurate. It was just a nice touch to have Chuck be saved by geek code instead of the cryptology of the spy world. First was Buy Mart's codeword 'Pineapple' to use in a 'Black Swan' event, which not only referenced Nassim Nicholas Taleb's rare event theory, but also an infamous Tonight Show sketch featuring Ross the intern and Steve Irwin (see video). It's hard to imagine this was the Buy Mart employees' first Black Friday, but funny nonetheless to see Jeff and Lester cowering in fear of the shopping throngs.

Getting back to geek code, specifically Klingon, Bryce again invokes the Star Trek language to query whether Chuck is wearing a vest (Bryce: "HIja'? ghobe'?" Chuck: "HIja'"). The fact that there's not a word for vest (let alone 'kevlar') in the current Klingon canon of words is something that's easy to overlook. Who knows, perhaps someone on the Chuck staff is a Friend of Maltz, and legitimately created a word for it?

Having Bomer around for the action scenes added some nice fight choreography between him and Yvonne Strahovski's Sara. The Buy Mart(ial arts) action, set to Pop Levi's "Sugar Assault Me Now," even had Chuck admitting they were pretty good together. The Sara/Chuck/Bryce triangle was then scored brilliantly by Band of Horses' "No One's Gonna Love You More" (second time around for the band on Chuck already,) leading to the soapy (non)ambiguous ending of Sara deciding who's call to answer: Bryce or Chuck -- it seems the answer is neither. The choice of phones was telling, though, as the old analog-looking phone for Bryce's call represented her past and Chuck's incoming was on an iPhone, representing her now (and future).

While they burned the 'Bryce is back' plot pretty early in the series, setting him up as a chip they can use in the future is good coupled with the news of the show getting picked up. Now if we can just work on getting this strike over with. Are you listening studio honchos? Pony up some change already!

Chuck - Episode 1.10
1. "On Sale Now" - Daniel May - Bryce and Chuck in elevator
2. "Sugar Assault Me Now" - Pop Levi - Fight sequence with Fulcrum cronies in Buy Mart
3. "No One's Gonna Love Me More" - Band of Horses - Bryce says goodbye, Sara debates going with him

Previously: Summer Sandwich (Episode 108)


Jo said...

The Daniel May song played in the elevator at the beginning, not in the BuyMore.

drake leLane said...

You're so right! Perhaps I was unconsciously projecting where I thought the song title would work best.